25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

“Spell-tastic” musical comedy brings pubescent pandemonium to MCT stage March 7-17

On Stage
MCT Celebrity Spellers
These celebrity spellers take turns in the spotlight during Missoula Community Theatre’s “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Want to be a guest speller? Just show up at the performance early and sign up to participate in the bee.

Awkward is awesome when six quirky 7th graders compete in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” March 7-17 at MCT Center for the Performing Arts.

Remember when you were in middle school and everything seemed heightened? Winning, losing, fitting in, not fitting in, and utter lack of confidence in your individuality? For audiences watching the six contestants in Missoula Community Theatre’s production of the Tony Award-winning musical, that pubescent pandemonium will likely be hilariously familiar.

At first glance, this production may sound like a children’s show, but director Adam B. Ferguson says this “spell-tastic” musical comedy is PG-13. There are mature themes and adolescent humor about puberty and body parts. The actors playing the six spelling bee contestants are all adults, which allows for some comfortable distance from the immediacy of puberty. In short, says Ferguson, audiences should be prepared to L-A-U-G-H about real life, silly stuff.

Ferguson is very excited about the “small but mighty” versatile cast of this “truly one-of-a-kind interactive” musical, gleefully bringing to life wacky characters experiencing a challenging event during a challenging time in their lives. The interactive part involves volunteer audience members participating in the on-stage spelling bee. Some performances will even feature a local “celebrity” speller, like Mayor John Engen, meteorologist Mark Heyka, and Kali Lindner, creator of Oula Fitness.

This show is also the Missoula Community Theatre’s annual Zero Waste production, in which props, set, and costumes are created from recycled or repurposed materials. Between the specialized construction of the show, and the unique comedy imbedded in the story and music, Ferguson hopes audiences leave the theatre thinking, “Wow! I had no idea musical theatre could be like that! Awkward is A-W-E-S-O-M-E!”

Show times for “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays, March 7-17. Tickets are available at MCTinc.org; by calling 406-728-PLAY (7529); or at the MCT Box Office, which is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays.